The vvhole worke of that famous chirurgion .. newly corrected.

London, printed by Thomas East, 1586.


FIRST EDITION thus. 4to. pp.(xx) 455 (i). [par.]¹, A-3L Text mostly black letter, dedications etc in Roman. Title within wide typographical border, printer’s arms on recto of last; woodcut historiated initials, head and tail-pieces throughout, early autograph ‘W. Blair’ at head of t-p, bookplate of Eugene Somer Flamm on paste down. Age yellowing, with some minor browning in places. A very good copy, crisp and clean in C19th olive calf, covers doubled blind ruled to a panel design, blind fleurons to outer corners, spine with raised bands blind ruled in compartments, blind fleurons title and name gilt lettered. a.e.r.

First edition of this valuable surgical work compiled by Thomas Gale (1507-87) sometime master of the Barber Surgeon’s Company and edited and revised by another member of the Company, George Baker (1540-1600), whose dedication constitutes a splendid attack on the  physician John Hester and who contributed a valuable index. The vol. comprises, the two works of Vigo on the practice of surgery in Bartholomew Trahero’s important first English translation “the first complete system of surgery after that of Guy de Chauliac, and remained a standard text for one hundred years” Norman. “this was the chief surgical textbook until the time of Paré. Part of its great popularity was no doubt due to Vigo’s discussion of the two major problems of his time; gunshot wounds and syphilis. He recommended cautery and boiling for treating gunshot wounds and mercury based ointments [he was one of the first to do so] for syphilis. Vigo was also interested in dentistry and was one of the first to use gold leaf to fill cavities of the teeth. In spite of the fact that his works were widely published, early editions, …are rare.” Heirs of Hippocrates. Gale’s ‘Interpretation of strange words used in the translation of Vigo’ is annexed. 

“Like William Bullein, John Bannister, and William Clowes, Gale was a member of an influential group of surgeons that began to make surgical writing more available and accessible to the young surgeons of the Company. .. By the middle of the sixteenth century, only two printed surgical books were available in English, Hieronymous Braunschweig’s Handy Warke of Surgeri (1525) and John De Vigo’s Most Excellent Workes of Chirurgerye (1543). Although vernacular manuscripts were available in modest volume, some of them even translations of very highly regarded authors like Lanfranc of Milan and Guy de Chauliac, the relatively small number of copies in circulation meant that most practitioners had few, if any, written reference works. Access to translations was thus seen as paramount if the surgeons were to improve their role in society.”

The work is found with two further works on surgery by Gale also found separately with separate title pages.

ESTC S107484. STC 24723. Wellcome I 6623. Durling 4618, see also Garrison and Morton 5559.1, Heirs of Hippocrates p.44, Norman 2154, Waller 9880. This edition not in Alden. Cockle 15 n. ‘Gale was the first Englishman to write a treatise on gunshot wounds.’


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